Friday, June 21, 2024
Friday, June 21, 2024
Home » Venezuelan Opposition Holds Presidential Primary

Venezuelan Opposition Holds Presidential Primary

by Thomas Burke
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CARACAS — 

Venezuelans are choosing the candidate they think can end the decade-long, crisis-ridden presidency of Nicolás Maduro, casting ballots in a primary election that the opposition independently organized despite government repression and logistical issues.

Holding Venezuela’s first presidential primary since 2012 required the deeply fractured opposition to work together. But it could prove an exercise in futility, if Maduro’s government so wishes.

While the administration agreed in principle to let the opposition choose its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, it also has already barred the primary’s front-runner, Maria Corina Machado, from running for office. Maduro’s government has in the past bent the law and breached agreements as it sees fit.

Internal and external logistical problems have plagued the opposition contest and were evident Sunday morning.

Voting centers in the capital, Caracas, were not set up by the time people began lining up to vote. Ballots and other materials arrived at some centers after the time polls were scheduled to open.

Voters were also confused over where they should vote. Venezuelans typically vote at public schools. But the independent commission that oversaw the primary opted to use homes, churches, private schools and other facilities as voting stations after the country’s electoral authorities did not respond to requests for help in a timely manner.

Voters also were instructed to check their voting center’s location through a website that internet service providers within Venezuela blocked. Some who managed to download a VPN to circumvent internet censorship found their polling place had been relocated.

“For us, it is a great achievement that people have come out; we will just endure the wait,” voter Maria Mendez, 68, said, referring to an estimated two-hour delay that she and about 250 people around her encountered. “We have to choose a candidate. We need a lot of changes. We have faced struggles for many years.”

Source : VOA News

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